Organizational Change and How the AAPS Collective Agreement Applies

Organizational change can have a significant impact on you as an individual. UBC has substantial flexibility in making changes in the workplace and it is important that you understand what your rights are, as a member of AAPS, under the Collective Agreement when these changes occur.

The following article recaps the Advocacy Education sessions facilitated by Luisa Liberatore and Sharon Cory at Point Grey and Okanagan Campuses this past spring.

Organizational change can impact someone:



Whether the change is positive or negative, it has an impact and feelings of anxiety and stress are normal. Members are not alone during these times of transition.

The University has a responsibility toAAPS members have a right to
  • act fairly
  • act in good faith
  • act reasonably
  • act without discrimination
  • apply common law unless specifically modified by the terms in the Collective Agreement
  • be treated fairly
  • be treated in good faith
  • be treated without discrimination
  • work in a safe and respectful workplace

It is important to remember that the University has the right to hire, fire, discipline, evaluate performance, organize and direct work. Often times it is when this occurs that work place issues arise and members seek counsel and advice from the AAPS Member Service Officers.

Job Changes

Article 5.4 of the Agreement addresses the types of job changes such as temporary or permanent promotions, secondments, transfers, and reassignments. Besides those identified in the Collective Agreement, other examples of possible job changes are reduction or increases of FTE (full time equivalency), changes to work schedules, and alteration or modification of job responsibilities.

Termination Without Cause

In organizing the workplace, if the University wishes to make a change, it is their right to do so. For the employee, their right is to receive notice which is articulated in Articles 9 and 14.8 of the Agreement. The last few years have seen an increase in the number of AAPS members released on a without cause basis under Article 9. When AAPS President, Jacqueline Smit and Executive Director, Michael Conlon met with President Toope and Lisa Castle on February 15, 2012, AAPS provided data on the significant rise in the number of terminations, especially for those released for reasons of suitability and fit. This issue continues to be part of an ongoing dialogue between AAPS and UBC.

Within the termination letter, the employer uses the word “offer”; this is misleading given that in the vast majority of cases the letter simply restates the University’s legal obligations under the Collective Agreement. There have been a number of instances when members have inadvertently signed letters under the impression that they needed to do so in order to receive notice under the Collective Agreement. This is not the case and members are encouraged to contact the AAPS office to better understand their rights and obligations before signing letters with the University.

Technological, Organizational and Operational Changes

The intention of Article 14.2 is for the University to inform AAPS of changes that will affect a significant number of employees in a work unit. ‘Significant’ can be open to interpretation and does not always occur even when we (AAPS) feel it may be in the University’s best interest to be sharing. Regrettably, there is not much legally that AAPS could do to remedy the situation if UBC decides to not consult AAPS. Nonetheless, AAPS takes the position that communication is a preferred step to reduce or alleviate workplace tension especially when organizational change is being contemplated or implemented.

Given the high attendance at the first two Advocacy Education sessions and the fact that participants were from different departments and units across the University, it is safe to say that many are dealing with changes in the workplace. As always, the AAPS Office is available to meet with you individually or as a group to discuss issues in the workplace. Please look for more Advocacy Education sessions is the coming year.